November Gift to the Community provides access to final day of cultural celebration 

Holiday Folk Fair 2015 Logo.png

Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 5, 2015 – The closing day of Holiday Folk Fair International will be free to the public for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s November Gift to the Community. Free admission on Sunday, Nov. 22, provides access to a unique and compelling celebration of cultures, including traditional music and dance performances; food and shopping vendors with global wares; arts, crafts and demonstrations. 

Holiday Folk Fair International is a program of the International Institute of Wisconsin, a nonprofit social service organization dedicated to racial, cultural and ethnic understanding. The annual event, now in its 72nd year, honors the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. 

“Embracing diversity and celebrating the unique contributions of all people are key characteristics of a thriving, inclusive community,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Holiday Folk Fair International provides a special opportunity to immerse yourself in ideas and expressions that represent our region’s history as well as its future.” 

As its theme, the 2015 Folk Fair will “Celebrate the Culture of Light,” allowing guests to learn how light is incorporated into the music, food, dance and art of the Fair’s participants. Event hours on Nov. 22 will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

On Nov. 22, the Folk Fair will feature: 

  • Interdenominational religious service at 10:30 a.m. 
  • All Nations Theater: traditional music and dance performed by more than 25 cultural groups and guest groups, plus the Young People’s Showcase, with performances at 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. 
  • World Café: a wide assortment of delicacies from around the world 
  • International Stage: young people performing traditional dances 
  • Tanzhauz (Music Pavilion): dance and sing along with a variety of musical stylings 
  • Coffee House: enjoy a beverage and baked goods while listening to talented musicians 
  • Heritage Lane: traditional customs from diverse cultures brought to life 
  • International Bazaar: cultural artifacts create a unique shopping experience 
  • Chef’s Stage: local chefs preparing traditional cuisine 
  • Wisconsin Woodturners 
  • Old World Wisconsin display 
  • Bonsai exhibit 
  • Closing Ceremonies 

“The Holiday Folk Fair International, produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin and celebrating 72 years of sharing cultural heritage with people from throughout Wisconsin and the midwest, is honored to be selected by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as a ‘Gifts to the Community’ recipient,” said Al Durtka, president of the International Institute of Wisconsin. “Building community is tied into everything that the International Institute does, and community is evident throughout Folk Fair, as more than 50 ethnic groups impart their history and culture through food, music, dance and crafts. This gift will enable more individuals from throughout our area to experience Folk Fair, expanding the community we share with one another.” 

Holiday Folk Fair International is held at State Fair Park Exposition Center, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis. Call (414) 225-6225 with questions or visit for additional information. 

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has been celebrating its 100th year of service throughout 2015 by presenting monthly Gifts to the Community, offering everyone an opportunity to access special places and resources throughout the region. The Foundation’s most recent Gift to the Community resulted in record-setting attendance at Discovery World, as 28,000 people visited the science and technology center Oct. 3-4. More than 233,000 people have participated in these experiences so far this year. 

The Foundation’s final centennial Gift to the Community will be revealed next month on FOX 6 Milwaukee. 

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

For a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world. Ending 2014 with more than $841 million in assets, it is also among the largest.